Primp your ’dos, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s Hairstyle Appreciation Day. Let’s not forget about our four-legged friends with the most luscious locks of all: long-haired cats! Today we’re paying tribute to the bushy beauty (not to mention hard-earned grooming) of these 13 long-haired cat breeds.
The breathtaking Somali is the long-haired version of the Abyssinian. She looks like a small wild fox with her bushy tail, tufted ears, and shaggy-ticked coat. As the name suggests, she was once thought to have originated in Somalia. New evidence shows she is more likely from parts of Southeast Asia.
Some believe that the grand Siberian cat is mother to all long-haired cat breeds. The Siberian’s coat is long, thick, and protective—a longstanding trait that can be attributed to the subarctic climate of her homeland in Russia. References to Siberians date back at least 1,000 years; however, they weren’t exported until after the Cold War.
Although the Selkirk Rex can have coats of varying lengths, we find him especially adorable in his wooly-sheep state. As one of the newest breeds, this naturally curly-coated cat originated from a Montana housecat. He is sometimes outcrossed to Persians, Exotic Shorthairs, and British Shorthairs, giving him a sweet, round-eyed expression.
The Ragdoll cat’s plush, silky coat requires little routine grooming. These gentle giants take four years to reach maturity, and are known to fall limp in the arms of anyone who holds them. In the 1960s, breeder Ann Baker used free-roaming cats she found in her California neighborhood to develop this gentle, placid breed.
The RagaMuffin is very similar to his cousin, the Ragdoll, except he comes in more colors and patterns. And like his cousin, he is a low-maintenance cat—even when it comes to his luxurious long coat, which does not easily mat or clump. He has a docile nature and loves to be held like a baby.
Of all the long-haired cat breeds, the Persian cat may be the first one to pop up in your head. This very old breed is thought to have originated from Turkish Angora cats crossed with other long-haired cats from Persia, Afghanistan, Burma, China, and Russia. He is famous for his silky white coat, though he now comes in a variety of other colors, too.
Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest Cat’s large, muscular body and dense, water-resistant fur coat helped him survive many generations in the harsh climate of Scandinavia. Legends surround the official cat of Norway, including those that say he traveled on Viking ships and pulled Norse goddess Freya’s chariot.
The shy, gentle Nebelung looks like a long-haired version of the Russian Blue. Her silky blue coat shimmers with silver at the tips and her thick-plumed tail sweeps behind her gracefully. She was born when a Russian Blue mated with a black domestic shorthair, surprisingly resulting in a long-haired blue kitten.
The large Maine Coon calls to mind a good-natured, all-American mouser. His tendency to be polydactyl (have extra toes) makes him an excellent hunter and climber. His heavy coat is smooth, water-resistant, and almost maintenance-free. He is the state cat of Maine, and was a popular competitor at early cat shows in Boston and New York.
The Himalayan has a famous look among long-haired cat breeds as a cross between a Siamese and a Persian. This sweet, docile cat doesn't have much energy to spare, making him a good candidate for a serene home with little to no change. He loves to be petted, but his shedding level requires that he be brushed quite often.
The sweet Chantilly-Tiffany originated when breeders crossed a Burmese with a Persian. Her long, silky coat is most popular in its original chocolate brown, but she also comes in other colors. She is relatively unknown among long-haired cat breeds, even in the U.S. where she was originally developed.
Breeders developed this long-haired version of the British Shorthair in the early 1900s. He typically retains the blue color and mellow temperament of his short-haired namesake, while showcasing the glossy long coat of a Persian. Although not a lap cat, he loves attention and devotes himself to his family.
The graceful Balinese is the long-haired version of the Siamese. Her milky-white fur is fine and silky, with a tendency to wave where it is longest, and her eyes are a beautiful sapphire blue. She is a vocal cat that will follow you around, demanding your complete attention and conversational abilities.
Which one of these long-haired cat breeds do you want to pet the most? We recommend taking a walk around your local cat shelter to check out all the long-haired beauties in need of a home!